South Scotland

Robert Burns songwriting project begins

Robert Burns
Image caption Eight musicians will have just a week to produce their works inspired by Robert Burns

Eight leading songwriters have taken to a secret location in the Galloway hills as part of an annual Robert Burns-inspired musical project.

The Burnsong-Songhouse takes the form of a week-long retreat.

The writers live and work together in creating new material, with this year's theme being "songs of concern".

The culmination of their efforts will be a live performance of the brand new songs at the Brigend Theatre in Dumfries on Friday.

Previous participants have included Midge Ure, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Idlewild's Roddy Woomble as well as award-winning folk singers Emily Smith and Karine Polwart.

The identities of the latest participants will be revealed later.

Burnsong artistic director, Ronnie Gurr, said he always told the people involved that they were under no pressure to produce any songs.

However, he said that they always ended up proving pretty prolific.

"I now know that when eight people as creative as the writers we have in the house get together that sparks just fly," he said.

"I think that in the previous songhouses we have never had less than 40 songs created in the five-day period.

"And the standard is extraordinary."

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